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Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA

Accident Report Detail

Accident: 97480.015 - Employee Is Burned By Caustic Solution While Cleaning Indust

Accident: 97480.015 -- Report ID: 0950647 -- Event Date: 03/19/2017
InspectionOpen DateSICEstablishment Name
1220002.01503/28/2017Frito-Lay, Inc.
At 10:30 a.m. on March 19, 2017, Employee #1 was working for a manufacturer of snack foods. He was the group leader in a group of three sanitation workers. He and his two coworkers were performing the sanitation procedure on a potato chip fryer (PC fryer) that was part of a potato chip processing line. During the sanitation procedure, the system had to go through a boil-out process. To start, the employees drained the oil from the system and added a cleaning solution of a hot caustic cleaner and water. The caustic cleaner was HD Plusfoam VF1 and Resource. It contained sodium hydroxide. The system was controlled through a computer system that should have automatically set the required temperature of 88 degrees Celsius (190 degrees Fahrenheit) for the boil-out process. The temperature was maintained in the heat exchanger system by allowing steam through an automated control valve. This valve was a Fisher Type 667 diaphragm actuator, with Serial Number 12042066. The valve was not isolating correctly. It had to be opened manually by the maintenance department. The boil out process took approximately 3 to 4 hours. About 1 hour into the boil-out process, the workers noticed that the temperature was fluctuating above 93 degrees Celsius (200 degrees Fahrenheit), as displayed on a computer screen. When the first coworker saw that the temperature was getting up to 110 degrees Celsius (230 degrees Fahrenheit), he attempted to shut everything off in an attempt to lower the temperature. He noticed that the boil-out system had lost about half of the water that was circulating through it due to boiling off and overflowing. He observed that a lot of steam was coming out from the PC fryer. Employee #1 was walking by, when his two coworkers informed him that the boil-out process was getting too hot. Employee #1 and the first coworker went on a platform on the north side of the PC fryer to check the computer screen for the system. At about 10:20 a.m., steam pressure from the excessive heat in the system caused a panel for the fryer fines removal system to blow open. The fryer fines removal system was on the south side of the PC fryer. The hot water and chemical mixture blew out and flew over the PC fryer. The mixture landed on Employee #1 and the first coworker. They had stepped off the platform when they had heard the noise of the incipient eruption. They were only about a meter, or a couple of feet, from the fryer, when they were splashed. The first coworker had personal protective equipment that included a raincoat that mostly protected her from the hot cleaning solution. Employee #1 was not wearing any personal protective equipment. He was burned by the hot liquid on his back. He sustained second and third degree burns to his scalp, neck, posterior torso, and upper extremities on his left hand side. He was hospitalized.
Keywords: ppe, sodium hydroxide, burn, chemical burn, fryer, high pressure, pressure piping, mech malfunction, high temperature, heat exchanger, cleaning, caustic, chemical, pressure release
Employee # Inspection Age Sex Degree Nature Occupation
1 1220002.015 49 M Hospitalized injury Burn/Scald(Heat) Laborers, except construction

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